I was very active until the age of 25, this then decreased to zero with work and family commitments. As I had 3 young children I felt they kept me on my toes and active. I began becoming more active last year turning 50 and after my 3 grandchildren where born, because I wanted to become fit and healthy . I consider myself now to be quite active doing yoga, walking, cycling and gardening. I started getting involved in these activities as I didn’t feel comfortable going to the gym, and I wanted to do something that I would enjoy. I also didn’t want to seek being a perfect size 10/12 I just wanted to feel healthy and comfortable in my own body. I also wanted to do a form of exercise that was not to intensive but would help reduce my stress and anxiety levels so I always start and finish the day with Yoga exercise. I cycle to work and get involved in the gardening on a weekend. I often take walks when I want to clear my mind and reflect on my day. I find it a lot easier now being active as I don’t have distractions and I’m doing this for me. Being active makes me feel alive and makes me feel good in myself and proud that I achieve something daily.
4 years ago, I got in touch with the Chair of the South Yorkshire Mixed Rounder League after moving to Sheffield from Nottingham & wanting to make more friends. As soon as I got out onto that pitch I felt like I’d found my game and my second family!
Growing up I’d always been a fan of sports having been a keen swimmer, gymnast & trampoliner. Although after a back injury my activity levels started to go down & I wasn’t having as much fun as before. I’d still tell people I was sporty, but in actual fact I think I liked the idea of being sporty more than actually being sporty.
After my second child turned 1 year old, I went straight back into fulltime education leaving very little time for myself. I often felt as though I was splitting myself in two to be there for my children, support my husband and study all at the same time. I found myself feeling down and sluggish and for a long time, I struggled to shake that feeling. When the opportunity did arise to go out and meet with friends and family without the kids in tow I found myself feeling anxious, often to the point I’d cancel the dinner date or the shopping trip and stay at home. It was a vicious cycle and I knew something needed to change. I’d recently heard about the couch to 5k challenge and decided to download the app. I’d never ran a day in my life and for the first few waddles runs, I was nervous. I pushed myself to stick to it, I found taking a pair of headphones to listen to music whilst running helped a lot. After a few weeks of following the app, it felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt healthier both mentally and physically and found, over time, each day got a little easier to contend with. It is rare now that I feel down, but when I do, I try to push myself to do a run, jog or a walk. Fresh air and exercise for me isn’t about losing weight or gaining muscle, it is about taking some time out for self-care.
Last June was the first time I’d heard the phrase Move More June, and there was a notice board in the Atrium at work, asking everyone to set themselves a challenge to do something different to Move More. I was active as a kid, playing football, basketball, swimming, tennis but hadn’t done much throughout my thirties. A few friends and colleagues had been boasting about how they had managed to run 5k, following the Couch to 5K programme. So I wrote, Coach to 5k on the post it note and that was it, I had committed.
This Girl Can Southey Ambassadors are women of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities with one thing in common: they want to inspire others to get active! Ambassadors support the project by telling their own stories about how they fit activity in their day to day lives, barriers they’ve had to overcome and the positive impact being active has had on their life.
Every week the SOAR team gets in touch with clients to check in & see if everything is alright during these tricky lockdown times. Helen Warren (Senior Development Worker) had a lovely telephone call this week:
Beryl and Mave have been next-door neighbours for 40 odd years, loved and lost but never fell out. They live alone, separated by only the garden bush…and it’s a tidy bush she says with a mischievous giggle.
This Girl Can is a celebration of active women (& those women that want to become active) doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get! SOAR is thrilled to be working with Southey women to find out what’s happening on our doorsteps & what else could encourage women to get active.
We are still open for business albeit from our own homes.
- Our Single Point of Access Coordinators are still receiving referrals from GPs, including contacting clients who are shielding.
- We will be focusing on Wellbeing Checks for the more vulnerable with underlying health conditions, and those self-isolating etc. This will be for both existing and new clients. We will look to use our staff to provide this service, including Health Trainer and Advocacy teams. Although in the future we could be looking to volunteers for support.
- We will connect and refer people to Foodbanks. Most Foodbanks operate a professional referral only system.
- There are a number of Community Hubs and Foodbanks in the North of Sheffield that both we and Voluntary Action Sheffield are looking to connect up.
Here at SOAR, we are constantly evolving and changing in the pursuit of excellence. To help achieve this, our recruitment processes are about getting the right people, to fit the right posts.
Penny Thompson – Centres Development Coordinator
Penny joins the organisation as the Centres Development Coordinator and is part of the team who are responsible with the day to day running of the centres & developing links with the community.